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Borknagar - The Archaic Course CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.35 | 26 ratings

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3 stars Borknagar are one of the early bands in the Norwegian symphonic black metal legions, it's a type of music with a high black metal factor when promo pictures are taken or cameras are around, but with nothing of the libertarian ideology nor the harsh power of real black metal. Luckily for Borknagar, they aren't too concerned with their image but focus on the music instead.

The sound is very different from the bleak black metal of Enslaved or Satyricon. Melodic and symphonic elements dominate over blast beats, harshness and aggression. The music is fast-paced, upbeat, well produced and thrashy rather then the usual repetitive drone of black metal. In fact, this sits fairly close to symphonic power metal, it's just a bit more creepy and crazy at times.

This certainly goes for Borknager who crafted a fine metal album here with mostly melodic vocals of the very dramatic and slightly operatic type. The vocalist would soon leave Borknager to join the more successful act Dimmu Borgir and deliver some good melodious vocals in that band. His vocals are very affected and slightly strained at time, creating a tiring effect on me that wants to put off the album halfway in. Nevertheless, it's worth persisting as the second half is better then the first. There's not that big a difference but the songs tend to be more distinguishable from one another.

Prog fans shouldn't get their hopes up from the progressive tag, the music is high quality and melodious, but is a true metal feast, meaning there's next to no dynamics and it rocks at virtually the same pace, intensity and density from start to finish. 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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